BenFred: David Perron’s Blues Puzzle Can Be Hard To Replicate | Ben Frederickson

Do you think the Colorado Avalanche fears the Blues more today than they did two months ago?

We never know what could have happened in last season’s second round if the now defending Stanley Cup champions had not taken out goalkeeper Jordan Binnington with a cheap shot from Nazem Kadri.

Next post-season, we would wonder what could have happened if the Blues had navigated wage cap constraints in a way that allowed them to take a better shot at keeping veteran striker David Perron?

Colorado is probably excited, Perron is now a Red Wing because of the kind of contract that seemed like one that would have made a lot of sense for the Blues.

It was Perron who finally retaliated against Nazem Kadri, after his crash into Binnington knocked the locked goalkeeper out of the playoffs with a knee injury.

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He scored nine goals and made four assists while firing a sniper-like shooting percentage of 21.4 last season.

Nr. 57 accounted for a total of 57 points (27 goals, 30 assists) in the regular season, affecting the matches in every possible way.

He helped the Blues win a ring in 2019, returned to the organization every time a transaction took him away to play for another, and made it crystal clear to anyone who would listen that he hoped this special relationship would continue .

If I told you before the free agency that Perron would land a five-year deal, no one would have expected the 34-year-old to sign with the Blues. Too much. Too old. Time to turn the page.

But if I told you before the free agency that Perron would sign a two-year deal worth less than $ 1 million a year more than the average annual value of the contract he’s just finished with the Blues, how many of you would have bet the contract was to be with the Blues? Yes me too.

But Perron is a Red Wing who now has a deal to pay him nearly $ 500,000 less per. season than what he did on the last contract he surpassed with the Blues.

It’s hard to swallow.

I know, I know. It’s a hard-cap league. Difficult decisions have to be made. Can’t keep everyone. Blues have plenty of depth on the forward. Defense was a need. Etc.

Blues boss Doug Armstrong has earned the doubt, and while no one who has been aware of this team at all likes the Perron departure, it does not make sense to hit a character on any offseason until the final picture takes shape. Armstrong can be completely unpredictable, and I mean that as a compliment.

Locking Robert Thomas into a franchise record deal could end up looking smart after the eight-year extension. No complaints here. Armstrong has previously invested heavily in young talent, and guys like Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko made it look smart for a long time.

And who knows, maybe Armstrong is working behind the scenes to finally carry out Blues fans’ biggest dream – to welcome Matthew Tkachuk home via trade or free agency in the relatively near future.

But right now, it’s a little hard to understand that the Blues end up in a place where they thought they could not justify beating Detroit’s two-year deal of $ 4.75 million for Perron.

The Blues were either unable or unwilling to create more cap space, leading to free agency.

They remain bound by a deplorable Marco Scandella contract.

They had no trouble finding four years and $ 16 million for 31-year-old defender Nick Leddy after an encouraging but relatively small sample size.

Tarasenko and his $ 7.5 million debt during his final season remain on the books, and no one seems to know if he is very interested in playing for the Blues or not.

Simply put, Perron was not as big a priority as it once seemed.

I suppose this is comparable to Armstrong’s wisely stiff-armed feelings when he decided to extend former captain David Backes. But let’s not forget that Backes traveled for a $ 30 million five-year deal back in 2016. We’re talking about a much smaller payday here for Perron.

Armstrong has described this offseason as a jigsaw puzzle. The Blues decided they are good at moving forward without Perron’s piece. The risk? The platform is the kind of piece a team can come to miss more and more when he is gone.

Blues coach Craig Berube could count on Perron being a tough competitor. He had an ability to overshadow his concerns – age and injury history is the biggest – with production as the spotlight reached its brightest. He was a powerplay ace and a perfect match with captain Ryan O’Reilly, who now has no new extension and no Perron. Perron seemed to shoot, loved to score and set off the competition with those around him. The attackers who are left have big skates to fill.

Armstrong’s clever move in recent times has left him in doubt, but that mountain in Colorado feels higher today than it did when the Blues last clashed with Avalanche in May.

Ben Frederickson @Ben_Fred on Twitter bfrederickson@post-dispatch.com

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